Christian Weber: 3 Suits & a Violin (2007)
Weber's colleagues are similarly concerned with more conceptual and less tethered methods of sound production. A catholic jazz listener might be tempted to judge the music by what is largely absent. Weber's pieces might lack audible melody and harmony, but they are far from vacuous in terms of content or weight. Hans Koch has a reputation for register extremes, preferring reed choices that mine pitches at either end of the audible spectrum. He and guitarist Martin Siewert also employ a small but prevalent assortment of electronics that plays a direct roll in blurring the music's sharper angles as well as the boundaries between instruments. Christian Wolfarth rarely attends to his kit in a conventional sense, contributing scrapes and whispers rather than discrete beats. Cellist Michael Moser completes the quintet, his brittle plucking and bowing shadowing the lower pitched sequences of the leader.
The titles attached to the improvisations reflect the breadth of Weber's creative basin, bringing imagery of astronauts and Americana into an amalgam as singular as the music. "Pony Music unfolds in a disorienting wash of crackles and vibrations generated by bows on strings, breath through reed, and friction on drumheads. Weber sets up a pulsating pattern in the piece's final third flanked by insect percussion and fluttering reed chatter. "Sun Perspectives starts with nary a pause before another murmuring barrage of disparate, but somehow convergent, drones. Weber and Moser, bounce bows off their strings, joining Wolfarth's finger patter and Siewert's opaque ghost tones. "Camping Light Night and "Lone Star suggest the strongest semblances of individualism, the strings synchronizing with Koch's rippling bass clarinet as Siewert sets up spectral plectral signposts along the way. The disc's nebulous centerpiece, "Frogmouth stretches to just short of sixteen minutes, spooling out like an alien suite of whistling pitch clusters and Doppler drones, a fever dream with an oddly balladic mien. Weber's music isn't easy, but it's also not soon forgotten.
Track Listing: Pony Music; Sun Perspectives; Buzz Aldrin; Camping Light Night; Frogmouth; Lone Star.
Personnel: Christian Weber: bass; Hans Koch: bass clarinet, saxophones, electronics; Michael Moser: cello; Martin Siewert: guitar, lap steel, electronics; Christian Wolfarth: drums.
Record Label: Hatology
Style: Modern Jazz